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We all know that Sydney is one of the best destinations in Australia to visit, but there’s plenty beyond the city walls to keep you amused too. If you do fancy getting out of the city for a bit, then check out some of these super excursions – easy to access and well worth the effort, you won’t be disappointed by any of these 8 great day trips from Sydney.

1. Hunter Valley

With over 100 vineyards, the Hunter Valley is New South Wales’ premier wine region. There is plenty to keep you busy here if wine tasting tours are your thing, otherwise sampling some of the other local produce, such as cheese, olives or chocolate, is bound to tempt you. There are also 174 national parks in the Hunter Valley, another reason it’s one of the best day trips from Sydney, so there really is no excuse not to enjoy the best of this beautiful country area.

2. Blue Mountains

Tucked behind Sydney to the west of the city, sit the wonderful Blue Mountains, so called because of the fabulous blue mist the multitude of eucalyptus trees there create. A range of little towns dot this breathtaking area and Katoomba, in the heart of the Blue Mountains, is probably the best place to head if you’re just enjoying day trips from Sydney. From Katoomba you can enjoy a trip on the great skyway or stretch your legs with a wonderful walk to views of the 3 sisters – one of the most famous Australian lookouts. A little further away and caves, abseiling and bushwalking opportunities all present themselves.

3. Northern Beaches

Simply catch an easy ferry across Sydney harbour and you can find yourself at the start of the city’s northern beaches. One of the most famous day trips from Sydney is to the enclave of Manly, which has some great cafes and a lovely beach. Another great one is to Palm Beach. Whale watching on the northern beaches is also popular at the right time of year and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is another must see here.

4. Taronga Zoo

Located in the city, Taronga Zoo is one of the best day trips from Sydney if you’re more limited on time. Established in 1916, Taronga was the first public zoo founded in New South Wales and is now home to over 4000 animals. As well as exhibiting a huge range of different species, the zoo also has some wonderful breeding and education programmes you can easily learn about during a visit there.

5. The Basin

Located in Ku-Ring-Gar Chase National Park, The Basin is Sydney’s most popular beach camping spot and one of the top weekend or day trips from Sydney. North of the city, you’ll need to get a ferry or water taxi to this great spot, but once there you’ll be rewarded with great picnic spots and fantastic swimming beaches. The Basin is a perfect outing with a group of friends, so why not round up a crew and get out there – the entrance fee is only $3 each!

6. Cockatoo Island

A UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is one of the best day trips from Sydney because you don’t have to go too far! Hop on a ferry there and very shortly you’ll feel as though you’re in a different world. Enjoy a guided tour and learn about the fascinating history of the island, or simply take a picnic, go on a stroll or savour the fabulous views of the city. Either way, a trip to Cockatoo Island is not to be missed and, if you want to stay a little longer, camping or holiday house accommodation is available to book for overnight stays.

7. Royal National Park

Situated in Sydney’s south, a visit to the Royal National Park is certainly one of the best day trips from Sydney. Head down here and enjoy hiking, wildlife spotting or a cheeky BBQ. There’s so much to see and do here, that you’ll be hard pushed to cover even a fraction of it in a day, so my advice is to start early (the park opens at 7am) and plan as much as you can in advance. The easiest way to get to Royal National Park from the city is to drive – the vehicle entry fee is $12 per day.

8. Kangaroo Valley

Known as Australia’s most beautiful valley, and only 2 hours from Sydney, Kangaroo Valley is the perfect city escape. Relax in green natural surrounds among rainforest trees and sparkling rivers as friendly country communities welcome you. A rich aboriginal heritage encases the area, which is now renowned for its great dairy production and there are plenty of walking and kayaking opportunities for the more active.

So that’s a list of 8 great day trips you can enjoy from Sydney. Where will you go first?

Steph Parker /

Hi there, my name’s Steph and I’m a travel addict! Never one for staying at home and working for too long, I’ve always had to make sure I can travel cheap to fund my nomadic lifestyle. Big World Small Pockets was created to share with you the highs and lows of happy, healthy budget travel – the sort of real, wild, global adventuring that fires up minds and sets hearts racing. I hope you enjoy it!

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